Sunday, September 30, 2012

Flying dolphin.

I often tell the kids I work with that I have so many animals because my mother used to tell me that I could have as many pets as I wanted when I grew up. This is easily the best response I have gotten.

This is why five-year-olds are awesome.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Compelling reasons not to acquire a bird.

We currently own 15 birds. Most of them were given to us by people who could no longer keep them for one reason or another. Parrots are all horrible demonspawn hellbeasts, but even finches have their serious downsides. Here are some good reasons to not own a bird.

1. They live forever.

Most people know that big parrots are a 50+ year commitment, but even cockatiels can make it well into their 20's. Budgies (parakeets) are a 10+ year commitment, and a finch can be around for 8 or 9 years. Changing families can be very hard on social birds, so people considering a parakeet, lovebird, cockatiel, conure, or parrotlet should seriously consider their plans for the next couple of decades.

2. Birds are evil.

Parrots are jealous little beasts and have a tendency to fall madly in love with one person and hate all potential rivals for affection/attention. Even cute, cuddly baby parrots will eventually hit puberty and develop a passionate hatred for your spouse, your children, your parents, your other pets, your friends, or anyone else who visits your home. Not every bird does turn into a feathered machine of pain and anger, but any parrot can suddenly decide to terrorize the people you love. Alternately, your bird may fall madly in love with your spouse/child/other family member and suddenly decide they hate you.

3. Birds are messy.

Smaller birds tend to be the worst mess-makers, but even big birds love to fling food and stuff everywhere. It's a major form of bird entertainment. Even through careful engineering I've only ever managed to direct the mess rather than contain it. Daily vacuuming is pretty much unavoidable, if birdseed falls in damp places it tends to put down roots and sprout, and you will still be finding petrified crud years after you cease to own birds.

4. Birds will tear up your stuff.

In the wild parrots spend pretty much all day shredding things in search of food and nesting materials. In captivity this desire for massive destruction cannot go unquenched. Even provided with an infinite quantity of shreddable-toys intended for shredding, parrots will occasionally decide to sample your library, data cables, or something else that you love. This is usually accompanied by innocent and adorable behavior intended to throw you off your guard.

Do not be fooled. Birds are monsters. Birds are descended from carnivorous dinosaurs, and they have not forgotten this. Birds will destroy your home, your marriage, your family, and all of your possessions. Do not let them into your house. Say no to birds.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tea time.

I don't normally drink coffee, but I do like to drink tea.

So do various other members of the family.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Cats are Stupid: Exhibit D

The Hellions are not allowed outside for a variety of reasons. We live in a very urban area with a lot of traffic, I don't want them getting into fights or picking up parasites or diseases, and I want to protect the local wildlife; however the primary reason is that the Hellions are far too stupid to survive out there for more than five minutes. They have had brief encounters with the great outdoors, I take them outside on leashes, and once in a while they escape. Right after we moved to our current place they pried open a window. I came home and found them in the driveway.

It's worth noting that our front yard and therefore our front door are enclosed inside a chainlink fence. Instead of a backyard there is another house with another family, and the driveway runs alongside our house and back to the garage that we share. The cats had emerged from a window facing the driveway and once they descended to the ground they could not get back in. Tortie Hellion was sprawled on the driveway so I just crammed her back in through the window. Tabby Hellion was frantically running in circles, and when I went to grab him he fled in terror towards the only recognizable route back into the house: the front door.

Of course, there was a chainlink fence between him and the door, and neither of the Hellions is particularly good at solving problems. After running facefirst into the fence he backed up and tried again, then ran a few feet down the fence and did the same thing. I watched him bash his way all the way around the fence and then followed him while he bolted around the house. Once he was within sight of the front door he again ran facefirst into the fence and repeated the entire performance. While he was dashing around the house for a third try I helpfully opened the gate, allowing him to reach the front door and run indoors to safety.

Of course, the first thing he did was try to jump out the window again.